African-History

NOW ON VIEW in the Contemporary Art Galleries— El Moro is part of Omar Victor Diop’s ‘Project Diaspora,’ a series of photographic self-portraits based on historical works of art depicting notable men of African descent. This photograph is modeled on A Moroccan Man (1913), a watercolor by the Catalan painter José Tapiró y Baró. Here, Diop adopts the pose and garb of the original subject, but adds touches of modern life via the vibrant textiles and soccer ball. In discussing contemporary soccer players and the man represented in the original work, Diop said that he chose to reference soccer to “show the duality of living a life of glory and recognition,” while also facing the challenges of being “other.” 

Diop began making these works during a four-month residency in Spain, a time during which he experienced a sense of cultural displacement that is mirrored in broader terms by the series itself. Utilizing source material likely drawn from The Image of the Black in Western Art, a research project, photographic archive, and multi-volume book series founded in 1960 by art patron Dominique de Menil, ‘Project Diaspora’ looks particularly at European history from the 15th to the 19th centuries, a period of intense interaction between Africa and the rest of the world.

Posted by Rujeko Hockley

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Open to the public on September 24th in the presence of President Obama, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture designed by Adjaye Associates realizes the vision to have a museum in Washington honoring the contributions of black Americans throughout history: http://bit.ly/2d8IFmN

This Saturday at 2:30 p.m., join us for a Community Conversation about “Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage” and share your thoughts about what it means to be authentic. To reserve your spot, click here.

“'LV’ Printed Textile,” designed 2008 by Marjo Penninx; made in 2015 by Vlisco (Private Collection © Vlisco)

Portrait of radio and television talk show host Alma Vessells John. Printed on front: “Glamor Pix.” Typed on back: “Alma Vessells John.” Handwritten on back: “Radio-TV. Alma Vessells John.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

After four hours in the history sections of the NMAAHC on Sunday, I had scant time left for the upper floors on community and culture before needing to leave to catch the last train to Baltimore. I took about twenty steps in and needed to walk right back out after noticing the time. Somewhere in those twenty steps I came across this quote. “No one should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one.” I didn’t know Majora Carter and have a lot of catching up to do, but this idea is blowing my mind.

No one should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one. 

Yes. What would it look like if no one had to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one? Think about that. I find this concept absolutely fascinating. 

Basically the era where being thicker than a midget was a crime just because Africans happen to be thick. Sarah (Saartije) Baartman was a Khoisan (South African) woman who performed under the name “Hottentot Venus” in 19th century England and France. She is the original video vixen: discovered at home in South Africa during her late teens, she was offered money and fame in Europe as a singer and dancer. Little did she know that she would be exploited and put on display for everyone to gaze at her large butt, long clitoris/labia, small waist, big breast and kinky hair– all traits that are very common amongst Khoisan women. As her shows attracted more fans, she was forced against her will to have sex with men AND WOMEN who gave enough money to her exploiters. Sarah got none of the money, as she was once promised. After her act got old, she was forced into prostitution, where she died of std’s and alcoholism. The obsession with Saartije lasted after her death as well. For more than 100 years, visitors and “scientist” were able to examine her dissected body parts in Paris museums. The 19th century shapewear, the “bustle” was inspired by her in order to give european women her unique physique. Yes, an old school booty pop. On behalf of Nelson Mandela’s request, Paris returned Saartije’s remains to South Africa in 2002. Black men, it’s time that you start respecting the black woman’s body, because this act of objectifying it was taught to you. #sarahbaartman

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starbucks (@starbucks) logo traces roots back to Africa.

Info via citizins (@citizins) 

When you see that Starbucks logo, you probably think the same thing as me: “There’s that ‘smiling mermaid’ logo, there must be some good, but overpriced, coffee nearby”. Well what isn’t known to the world is that this is a picture of Yemaya, also know through out West Africa and the Caribbean as Yemoja,Yemowo, Mami Wata, Janaína, LaSiren (in Vodou) is an Orisha – said to be a Goddess of the traditional Yoruba religion that was brought by the enslaved Africans of what is now Nigeria to the west. She is the patron of women, in particular, pregnant women. When slaves were transported across the ocean, it was said to be Yemaya who protected them on their journey and kept them safe. She is kind and giving. She takes a long time to anger but when she does, watch out, you have a hurricane on your hands. She is said to be the “mother whose children number as the fish in the sea” and that is why she is presented as a two-tailed mermaid.Yemaya is said to bring forth and protect life through all the highs and lows, even during the worst atrocities that can be suffered. She reminds women to take time out for themselves, to nurture their own needs and to respect their deserved position in life.

Happy Black History month everyone!

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It’s been over a hundred years in the making, but the new Smithsonian museum celebrating Black history finally opened this weekend

Way back in 1929, President Hoover approved a proposal for a National Memorial Building for African American achievements in arts and sciences — but Congress did not. Congress didn’t officially pass an act to erect a federally owned museum until 2003. Ground wasn’t broken until nine years later, with a little help from President Obama.

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AN EXAMPLE OF AFRICAN MEDICAL SCIENCE. ILLUSTRATION OF AFRICAN DOCTORS IN 19TH CENTURY (1879) KAHARA,UGANDA PERFORMING A CAESARIAN SECTION. SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES OF THIS OPERATION WERE VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN IN EUROPE AT THE TIME.

Africans were performing many advanced medical procedures long before they had been conceived in Europe this is just one of many examples.

The British traveler R.W. Felkin who reported this noted that the healer used banana wine to semi-intoxicate the woman and to cleanse his hands and her abdomen prior to surgery. He used a midline incision and applied cautery to minimize hemorrhaging. He massaged the uterus to make it contract but did not suture it; the abdominal wound was pinned with iron needles and dressed with a paste prepared from roots. The patient recovered well, and Felkin concluded that this technique was well-developed and had clearly been employed for a long time. Similar reports come from Rwanda, where botanical preparations were also used to anesthetize the patient and promote wound healing.

Reference: “Notes on Labour in Central Africa” published in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930.

Click here for more.

Every black child in grade school is taught Adolph Hitler killed six million Jews and is the worst human being that ever lived. On the other hand our children are taught “The Right Honorable” Cecil Rhodes the founder of the De Beer diamond company in South Africa who killed ten times that number of Africans is a hero and a statesman and if they study hard and do well in school they may be eligible to win Rhodes Scholarships the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. They don’t mention the scholarships are paid for with the blood of their ancestors.

If you don’t know your history, you can expect to continue to be a fool, used and abused by the oppressor.  

#massdeception